The Supreme Court on Monday asked Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam governments to file status reports on the current COVID-19 situation in the respective states and preparedness to deal with surge of cases in the coming months. A Bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan also pulled up Gujarat and Delhi over the worsening COVID-19 situation and asked all states to file status reports detailing steps they have taken, steps intended to be taken and the help needed from the Centre to combat the situation.
“Things have worsened in the last two weeks, in November. Our question is what is your present situation? What more steps are you taking? That is what we are going to look into,” the Bench asked the Delhi government. The Bench also observed that in the month of November there was a spike of COVID-19 cases in Delhi, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It also noted Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s submission that the Union Home Minister has taken specific steps with regard to the COVID-19 situation in Delhi.
“Let counsel appearing for Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Assam file status report with regard to the current COVID-19 situation,” the Bench said. Highlighting that Gujarat’s condition is worst after Delhi and Maharashtra, the Bench also pulled up the Gujarat government for allowing weddings and gatherings despite rising COVID-19 cases. “What is your policy? What is happening? What is all this?” Justice MR Shah asked the counsel appearing for state.
The bench, which was hearing a suo motu case pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 crisis and mishandling of dead bodies, posted the matter for further hearing on Friday. Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain, appearing for the Delhi government, contended that as of today everything is in place and that 380 slots have been dedicated for cremation of COVID-19 dead bodies.
Justice Bhushan said things have worsened in the last two weeks in the national capital. “We need a status report as on date with regard to COVID-19 patient management, infrastructure on the ground, etc to understand bottlenecks if any with regard to these patients’ management,” he said. The court was also informed that the situation in Assam is “deplorable” and that the situation is not improving as hospitals are short of intensive care units.